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Read Aloud Books for Ages 8 – 12

Looking for some great read aloud books for ages 8 – 12? We found some winners!

There is nothing quite like receiving a box of books at your doorstep, opening it up and experiencing the feel and smell of brand new books.

But, I am getting a bit ahead of myself here.

Let me back up. I have heard from many parents of kids in the 8 to 12 year old range who struggle to get their kids interested in reading.

I get it. It can be hard if they have no interest in reading on their own. It is especially tough if they were good readers when they were young but now don’t want to touch a book.

However, even though they may not want to read on their own, please don’t let that stop you from sharing good, entertaining books with them!

Special thanks to Candlewick Press who sent me books and compensated me for my time writing this post. All opinions are my own–of course.

What are Read Alouds

If you are struggling to get them to read, I suggest you turn your attention to reading aloud.

What are read alouds? Well, they are simply books that you read out loud to them. Just like you did when they were young.

The kicker is that with older kids you need to have engaging books that are going to catch their attention.

What types of books catch attention?

Honestly, I think any book they are interested in can be a good fit. I know a lot of people think read alouds can only be chapter books or novels, but I disagree.

If you can read the book out loud, and can hold the book up to show any illustrations you are good to go.

Back to the story . . .

I pulled up the Candlewick Press website and we dove into their catalog.

My son and I enjoyed browsing through the selections to see what we would like to order for good read aloud sessions. Remember, any book they like fits. I let him choose whatever books he wanted. <<< key point!

I really like to have a lot of books around the house. The more I have here, the more we all read.

Then we simply waited for our book shipment to come.

The box arrived on our doorstep and I brought it in. I opened it up and the next thing I knew all of the books disappeared!

My son had grabbed the whole stack to check them out. (That is a good thing!)

To help you find some books, I will share details on the ones we got.

If you struggle with getting your kids to sit and read, then finding read aloud worthy books is your very best bet.

Let’s take a look . . .

Read Aloud Book List for Ages 8 – 12

Here is the list of books he chose and his thoughts on each book. My comments are in parentheses. I hope this will help you to find some great books to read with your kids.

Between Worlds: Folktales of Britain and Ireland by Kevin Crossley-Holland

This is a collection of entertaining folktales from Britain and Ireland.

While these are dark, like the dust cover said, you should also know that they are violent.

The author does a good job of portraying these old stories. The stories are strange but that doesn’t mean they are bad, just that they are intriguing.

Timmy Failure Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis 

This is the first book in the series so a great place to start. (He has read all of the books in the series.)

One thing I do like about the Timmy Failure series is that it strays pretty far away from the typical middle school books with their generic story tropes.

It is very much its own thing and is quite unique. This book has that Stephan Pastis brand of satirical humor.

Timmy Failure Sanitized for Your Protection by Stephan Pastis

It has an interesting storyline that is very entertaining and features one of the better characters in the series, Molly Moskins.

It is very dire type of storyline but told from the perspective of people who do not see it as such which makes it interesting to me. I like that kind of storytelling.

Many of the Timmy Failure books have real and emotional storytelling but never so much that it feels cheesy and overblown.

Poe: Stories and Poems

This was my favorite book in part because Poe is a favorite poet / story teller, but also because the book was well written and enjoyable to read.

This is a graphic novel. It takes Poe’s work and transforms it into a more visual type experience and in my opinion it did so quite well.

It is not a perfect word-for-word rendition of Poe’s original works, as they do cut out large chunks to make it easier to read. The illustration style in the book was really well done. 

It is more kid-friendly than Poe’s works but it is still Edgar Allen Poe so if your kids do not like violent, depressing, dark stories, you may not want to give them this.

Dungeons & Dragons Books

Dungeons & Dragons: Endless Quest by Matt Forbeck

This series of books is similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure series.

The illustrations in these books are always cool and have a good dungeon feel to them.

Be sure to see our series review of the D&D books and other good fantasy titles for middle grade readers.

Escape from Castle Ravenloft

You are the cleric, escaping from the castle of a vampire lord.

You can go it on your own or find some allies to help you along the way.

Some of the choices leave you with no good outcome, which makes moral decisions difficult. (As a mom, I like this part and enjoyed the conversations that came from trying to figure out what to do.)

The Mad Mage’s Academy

You are the rogue, and you are trying to break into a mage’s academy in order to steal his spell book for a client.

You encounter a lot of different types of students at the school. Be careful who you place your trust in.

Dungeons & Dragons: Dungeonology

This book is cool.

There is a lot of information about the D&D world that is presented in a fun and unique visual way. There is lore and interesting things to read.

The book is interactive in that there are flaps, a pop out map, a secret envelope and other things to find.

There is no story-line but that is not the type of book this is. It is a compendium of the D&D universe.

The illustrations are really good and a high point of the book.

There is an overarching character that writes to you and the author does a good job of fleshing out his character and this makes Dungeonology more fun to read.

Enter the giveaway!

Candlewick Press is holding a giveaway of the book My Green Day: 10 Green Things I Can Do today. It is a cute book that is geared toward kids 3 – 7 years old. Go here to enter for a chance to win.


Well, there you have it, a great read-aloud book list for ages 8 – 12 filled with books you are all sure to enjoy. I say that because I read them to him and they were really entertaining!

Be sure to take some time to visit Candlewick Press and take a look at their catalog. I’m sure you will find a lot of books for your family enjoy. I know I always do.